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Optional social programs – details and introduction


Bus departure/arrival point and date:
- University of Szeged, József Attila Study and Information Centre (congress venue)
- 23rd March, 2012 - 9.30 am
Our guests will have a special Hungarian "Gulyas" lunch.
Duration of the tour is approx. 5 hours.

The most beautiful and visited Hungarian National Historical Memorial Park, memorial park and open-air musuem of Hungarian history in Ópusztaszer, Hungary. It was established in 1982 and is most famous for being the location of the Feszty Panorama, a cyclorama depicting the arrival of the Hungarians to the Carpathian Basin in 895. The 120-metre long, 15-metre tall painting recalls the events of history eleven hundred years ago. The moment is captured with the help of brush, paint and canvas, artistic skills and some imagined episodes of the conquest plus the imagination of spectators. Many contemporary artists helped Árpád Feszty during his two-year task that lasted from 1892 to 1894. Landscapes were made by László Mednyánszky and the battle scenes by Pál Vágó. You can also find the examples of traditional Hungarian architectures, an open-air village of traditional Hungarian buildings, the Yurts and the famous Árpád Memorial here.

The past of this place goes back to immeasurable length of time. King Béla’s chronicler, Anonymus, mentioned this area in his famous Gesta Hungarorum for the very first time as the venue of the first “National Assembly,” which also explains the meaning of the name of the place, Szer: "it was there that they took care to settle the affairs of the whole country". In other words, it was the venue for the first General Assembly of the Chiefs of the conquering Magyar tribes, who were lead by the Chief of the Chiefs, Árpád. As the renowned chronicler wrote, the prevailing common laws were then complemented by regulations, and estates were also distributed.


Bus departure/arrival point and date:
- University of Szeged, József Attila Study and Information Centre (congress venue)
- 24th March, 2012 - 8.30 am
Our guests will have a buffet lunch during a boat trip on the River Danube at 14.00 pm.
Duration of the tour is approx. 9 hours.

Main Attractions:

Heroes' Square

Heroes’ Square is one of the major squares of Budapest, Hungary. It lies at the end of Andrássy Avenue (with which it comprises part of a World Heritage Site), next to the City Park. It is surrounded by two important buildings, the Museum of Fine Arts on the left and the Palace of Arts (or the Arts Exhibition Museum) on the right. On the other side, it faces Andrassy Avenue which has two buildings looking at the square - one is a residential building, while  the other one is the Embassy of Serbia (the former Yugoslavian Embassy where Imre Nagy secured sanctuary in 1956).
The central site of the Heroes’ Square, apart from being one of the most important landmarks of Budapest, is the Millennium Memorial (also known as the Millennium Monument or the Millenary Monument) with statues of the leaders of the seven tribes that founded Hungary in the 9th century and other outstanding figures of Hungarian history (see below). The construction of the Memorial was started when the one-thousandth anniversary was celebrated (in 1896), but it was finished only in 1929 and the square got its name then.
When the monument was originally constructed, Hungary was part of the Austrian Empire and thus the last four spaces for statues on the left of the colonnade were reserved for members of the ruling Habsburg Dynasty. From left to right these were: Ferdinand I (relief: Defense of the Castle of Eger); Charles III (relief: Eugene of Savoy defeats the Turks at Zenta), Maria Theresa (relief: The Hungarian Diet votes support "vitam et sanguinem") and Franz Joseph (relief: Franz Joseph crowned by Gyula Andrássy). The monument was damaged in World War II and when it was rebuilt, the Habsburgs were replaced by the current figures.
On the 16th June 1989, a crowd of 250,000 gathered at the square for the historic reburial of Imre Nagy, who had been executed in June 1958.

Andrássy Avenue
Andrássy Avenue is an iconic street in Budapest, Hungary, linking Erzsébet tér (Elizabeth Square) with Városliget (the City Park). Flanked by Eclectic Neo-Renaissance palaces and houses featuring fine façades, staircases and interiors; it was recognised as a World Heritage Site in 2002 (along with the Millennium Underground Railway, Heroes’ Square and the City Park).


Hungarian State Opera House
The Hungarian State Opera House is a Neo-Renaissance opera house located in central Pest, (a part of Budapest), in the 6th District (Terézváros) at 22 Andrássy Avenue.
Designed by Miklós Ybl, a major figure of 19th-century Hungarian architecture, the construction lasted from 1875 to 1884 and was funded by the city of Budapest and by Emperor Franz Joseph of Austria-Hungary. The Hungarian Royal Opera House (as it was known then) was opened to the public on September 27, 1884.
It is a richly-decorated building and is considered to be one of the architect's masterpieces. It was built in Neo-Renaissance style, with elements of Baroque. Its ornamentation includes paintings and sculptures by leading figures of Hungarian art of the time including Bertalan Székely, Mór Than and Károly Lotz. Although in size and capacity it is not among the greatest, in beauty and in acoustical quality, the Budapest Opera House is considered to be amongst the first few opera houses in the world.
The Auditorium holds 1261 seats. It is horseshoe shaped and - according to measurements done in the 1970s by a group of international engineers - has the 3rd best acoustics in Europe, after the Scala in Milan and the Paris Opera House. Although many opera houses have been built ever since, the Budapest Opera House is still among the best in terms of acoustics.
In front of the building there are statues of Ferenc Erkel, composer of the Hungarian National Anthem, and the first music director of the Opera House. He was also the founder of the Budapest Philharmonic Orchestra. The other statue is of Franz Liszt, the best known Hungarian composer.
Each year the opera season lasts from September to the end of June and besides opera performances, the Opera House is the home of the Hungarian National Ballet.
Many important artists were guests here including Gustav Mahler, the composer who was the director in Budapest from 1887 to 1891 and Otto Klemperer, who was the musical director for three years from 1947 to 1950.
In the 1970s the state of the building prompted the Hungarian State to order a major renovation which eventually began in 1980 and lasted till 1984. The reopening was held exactly 100 years after the original opening, on September 27th 1984.

We will not enter the building, we will just admire it from the outside.


Building of the Hungarian Parliament
The Building of the Hungarian Parliament is the seat of the National Assembly of Hungary, one of Europe's oldest legislative buildings, a notable landmark of Hungary and a popular tourist destination of Budapest. It lies in Kossuth Lajos Square, on the bank of the River Danube, in Budapest. It is currently the largest building in Hungary, and the second largest Parliament in Europe.
Budapest was united from three cities in 1873 and seven years later the National Assembly resolved to establish a new, representative Parliament Building, expressing the sovereignty of the nation. A competition was announced, which was won by Imre Steindl, but the plans of the other two competitors were also realized, facing the Parliament: one serves today as the Ethnographical Museum, the other as the Ministry of Agriculture.
The construction based on the winning plan started in 1885 and the building was inaugurated on the 1000th anniversary of the country in 1896, and completed in 1904. (The architect of the building went blind before its completion.) There were about one thousand people working on its construction in which 40 million bricks, half a million precious stones and 40 kgs of gold were used.
Similar to the Palace of Westminster, it was built in Gothic Revival style; it has a symmetrical façade and a central dome. It is 268 metres long and 123 metres wide. Its interior includes 10 courtyards, 13 passenger and freight elevators, 27 gates, 29 staircases and 691 rooms (including more than 200 offices). With its height of 96 metres, it is one of the tallest buildings in Budapest, along with Saint Stephen's Basilica. The number 96 refers to the nation's millennium, 1896, and the conquest of the later Kingdom of Hungary in 896.
The main façade faces the River Danube, but the official main entrance is from the square in front of the building. Inside and outside, there are altogether 242 sculptures on the walls. On the façade, statues of Hungarian rulers, Transylvanian leaders and famous military people can be seen. Over the windows, there are pictures of coats of arms of kings and dukes. The main entrance is the stairs located on the eastern side, bordered by two lions.
Due to its extensive surface and its detailed handiwork, the building is almost always under renovation.
During the Communist regime, the government added a large red star to the central steeple at the dome of the building, but after its downfall, the star was removed from its place.

We are not allowed to enter the building just to admire it from the outside.


The Buda Castle
The Buda Castle is the historical castle of the Hungarian kings in Budapest, Hungary. In the past, it was also called the Royal Palace and the Royal Castle.
The Buda Castle was built on the southern part of Castle Hill, next to the old Castle District, which is famous for its medieval, Baroque and 19th-century houses and public buildings. It is linked to Adam Clark Square and the Széchenyi Chain Bridge by the Castle Hill Funicular.
The Buda Castle bacame part of the Budapest World Heritage Site in 1987.


The Fisherman's Bastion
The Fisherman's Bastion is a terrace in Neo-Gothic and Neo-Romanesque style situated on the Buda bank of the River Danube, on the Castle Hill in Budapest, around the Matthias Church. It was designed and built between 1895 and 1902 according to the plans of Frigyes Schulek. Between 1947-48, the son of Frigyes Schulek, János Schulek, conducted the the other restoration project after its near destruction during World War II.
The towers and the terrace occer a panaromic view over the River Danube, the Margaret Island, Pest to the east and the Gellért Hill.
Its seven towers represent the seven Magyar tribes that settled in the Carpathian Basin in 896.
The Bastion takes its name from the guild of fishermen who were responsible for defending this stretch of the city wall in the Middle Ages. The Bastion now serves as a panorama terrace, with many stairs and walking paths.
A bronze statue of Stephen I of Hungary mounted on a horse, erected in 1906, can be seen between the Bastion and the Matthias Church. The pedestal was made by Alajos Stróbl, according to the plans of Frigyes Schulek, in Neo-Romanesque style, with episodes illustrating the King's life.

The Matthias Church
The Matthias Church is a church located in Budapest, Hungary at the heart of Buda's Castle District. The church was originally built in 1015. The current building was constructed in the florid late Gothic style in the second half of the 14th century and was extensively restored in the late 19th century.
Officially named as the Church of Our Lady, it has been popularly named after the greatest Hungarian king, Matthias Corvinus, "Matthias the Just", known in Hungarian as Mátyás király, who ordered the construction of its original southern tower. In many respects, the 700-year long history of the church serves as a symbol (or perhaps a reminder for Hungarians) of the city's rich, yet often tragic history. Not only was the church the scene of several coronations, including that of Charles IV in 1916 (the last Habsburg king), it was also the site of King Mátyás' two weddings (the first to Catherine of Podiebrad and, after her death, to Beatrice of Aragon).
Any Hungarian historian will tell you that the darkest period in the church's history was the century and a half of the Turkish occupation. The vast majority of its ecclesiastical treasures were shipped to Pressburg (present day Bratislava) and following the capture of Buda in 1541, the church became the city's main mosque. To add insult to injury, ornate frescoes that previously adorned the walls of the building were whitewashed and its interior furnishings were stripped out.
The church was also a place of the so-called Mary-wonder. In 1686, during the siege of Buda by the Holy League, a wall of the church collapsed due to cannonfire. It turned out that an old votive Madonna statue was hidden behind the wall. As the scuplture of the Virgin Mary appeared before the praying Muslims, the morale of the garrison collapsed and the city fell on the same day.
Although following Turkish expulsion in 1686 an attempt was made to restore the church in Baroque style, historical evidence shows that the work was largely unsatisfactory. It was not until the great architectural boom towards the end of the 19th century that the building regained much of its former splendour. The architect responsible for this work was Frigyes Schulek.
Not only was the church restored based on its original 13th-century plans but a number of early original Gothic elements were uncovered. By also adding new motifs of his own (such as the diamond pattern roof tiles and gargoyles laden spire) Schulek ensured that the work, when finished, would be highly controversial. Today however, Schulek's restoration provides visitors with one of the most prominent and characteristic features of the Budapest's cityscape.
Inside, visitors tend to head straight for the Ecclesiastical Arts Museum which starts in the medieval crypt and leads to the St. Stephen Chapel. The gallery contains a number of sacred relics and medieval stone carvings, along with replicas of the Hungarian royal crown and crown jewels.

Citadella is the Hungarian word for Citadel, a kind of fortress. The word Citadella is exclusively used by other languages to address the Citadel located upon the top of the strategic Gellért Hill in Budapest, Hungary.
The fortress was built in 1851 by Julius Jacob von Haynau, a commander of the Habsburg Monarchy, and designed by Emánuel Zita and Ferenc Kasselik, after the revolution in 1848-1849. It occupies almost the entire 235-meter high plateau. The fortress is a U-shaped structure built around a central courtyard, being 220 meters long, 60 meters wide, and 4 meters tall. It had a complement of sixty canons.
Its consturction was finished in 1854. In June 1854, Austrian troops settled in the Citadel. After the Compromise with the Habsburgs in 1867, the Hungarians demanded the destruction of the Citadel, but the garrison troops left only in 1897, when the main gate was symbolically damaged. It was not until late 1899 when the city took possession of the Citadel. A few months later in 1900, the walls were demolished.
From the top of the Citadel, there is a panoramic view over the city, the River Danube and its eight bridges.
On the plateau and nearby, there are other points of interest like the Liberty Statue, Hotel Gellért, the Gellért Baths and the Gellért Hill Cave.

Váci Street
Váci Street is one of the main pedestrian thoroughfares and perhaps the most famous street of central Budapest, Hungary. It features a large number of restaurants and fashion outlets catering primarily for the tourist industry. The Lonely Planet says "It's tourist central, but the line of cafés and shops are worth seeing - at least once."


Bus departure/arrival point and date:
- University of Szeged, József Attila Study and Information Centre (congress venue)
- 25th March, 2012 - 10.00 am
After a short walk our guests will have a typical Hungarian lunch at the Fisherman’s Inn (Roosevelt Square).
Duration of the tour is approx. 6 hours.

Main Attractions:

Dóm Square / National Pantheon / Votive Church

The Dóm Square (Cathedral Square) is located just a stone's throw from the Heroes' Gate and is where you will discover many of the most significant landmarks, monuments and attractions. This is where a series of celebrations take place, including the yearly summer festival. With more than 80 different statues and carved reliefs, the National Pantheon dominates the Dom Square. Close by, the Romanesque-style Demetrius Tower, was once part of a 12th-century church, is equally inspiring and can be found along the Dömötör-torony, which is the most historic of all the landmarks within Szeged. The neighbouring Votive Church is also worthy of a look and perhaps a photograph or two. The twin towers of this mighty building add great character to the Szeged skyline. Attractions of the Votive Church include a colossal organ with over 11,000 pipes and a vast nave, filled with rather gaudy and elaborate decorations.

Széchenyi Square / Town Hall

The Széchenyi Square is the perfect place to begin a sightseeing in Szeged and this public square is in fact so big that it is more like a park. Many of the most notable tourist attractions in Szeged can be found around Széchenyi Square. For example the Neo-Baroque Town Hall, an especially elegant building graced with a tall tower and a beautifully tiled roof. The Town Hall dominates and the statues of the Kubikosok (navvies), István Széchenyi and Lajos Tisza embellish the Square, all of whom were responsible for regulating and controlling the city's river. You can find the Gróf Palace (Earl’s Palace) on the northern side of the Széchenyi Square and the recently renovated public baths, with the magnificent Reök Palace lying to the south and along the Tisza Lajos Avenue.

New Synagouge

Many visitors agree that one of the most imposing of all the landmarks in Szeged is the New Synagogue, which is famed for its Hungarian Art Nouveau appearance and located within the former Jewish quarter. Designed and built more than 100 years ago by Lipót Baumhorn, the New Synagogue is widely regarded as the most beautiful of all the country's Jewish buildings and synagogues. Standing outside and looking upwards - you cannot fail but be impressed by the scale of the architecture, while inside, the many attractions scattered around the blue and gold decorated interior include an eye-catching dome, which has been decorated with a mixture of flowers and stars. Close by is Szeged's Old Synagogue, which stands proudly along the Hajnóczy Street and dates back to 1843.




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